Scifi to warm the cockles of your heart

Oh man do I love me some scifi. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted about it! Here are a few stories for you, my reader. has a lot of free short stories around – most of them are kind of meh, but you do get a gem or two. Here’s a pretty amusing one by Charlie Jane Anders called The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model.

Of course the big news in scifi is the Hugo awards. The City & The City tied with The Windup Girl for best novel; I haven’t read The Windup Girl, but The City & The City was excellent. The best novella was Palimpset, which you can get for free here, and the best novelette was The Island, which you can get for free here [pdf].

Techno-dystopias are making a comeback!

I heard that The City & The City by China Miéville is supposed to be a pretty good book, so I thought I’d check it out. In the meantime, I found a short story by Miéville online at Socialist Review. It was written in 2004, but feels very 90’s corporate-fascist (a la Snow Crash).

Call me childish, but I love all the nonsense – the snow, the trees, the tinsel, the turkey. I love presents. I love carols and cheesy songs. I just love Christmas™.

That’s why I was so excited. And not just for me, but for Annie. Aylsa, her mum, said she didn’t see the big deal and why was I a sentimentalist, but I knew Annie couldn’t wait. She might have been 14, but when it came to this I was sure she was still a little girl, dreaming of stockings by the chimney. Whenever it’s my turn to take Annie – me and Aylsa have alternated since the divorce – I do my best on the 25th.

I admit Aylsa made me feel bad. I was dreading Annie’s disappointment. So I can hardly tell you how delighted I was when I found out that for the first time ever I was going to be able to make a proper celebration of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t got shares in YuleCo, and I can’t afford a one-day end-user licence, so I couldn’t have a legal party. I’d briefly considered buying from one of the budget competitors like XmasTym, or a spinoff from a non-specialist like Coca-Crissmas, but the idea of doing it on the cheap was just depressing. I wouldn’t have been able to use much of the traditional stuff, and if you can’t have all of it, why have any? (XmasTym had the rights to Egg Nog. But Egg Nog’s disgusting.) Those other firms keep trying to create their own alternatives to proprietary classics like reindeer and snowmen, but they never take off. I’ll never forget Annie’s underwhelmed response to the JingleMas Holiday Gecko.

No, like most people, I was going to have a little MidWinter Event, just Annie and me. So long as I was careful to steer clear of licenced products we’d be fine.

It’s worth a read.